INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Indianapolis drug kingpin Richard Grundy III was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.
Grundy was convicted this summer of organizing an operation that distributed drugs worth an estimated $3.5 million onto the streets of Indianapolis in the years 2016 and 2017.
U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said Grundy will never again be free.
“For those of you more familiar with the rules of state prison and not familiar with the rules of federal prison, parole has been abolished, federally,” Minkler said during a Thursday news conference. “So when someone is sentenced to life in prison, what that means is that you die in prison. You do not get to take a free breath of air for the rest of your life.”
Because of the complexities of the case—and accusations of jury tampering—Minkler said federal authorities took “extraordinary and remarkable effort” to make sure Grundy received a fair trial. The trial was eventually moved to Evansville, where he was convicted.
Minkler called Grundy’s conviction and sentencing a “big win” for the citizens of Marion County.
“At a time when this city needs a response to the existential threat of violence, Richard Grundy, public enemy No. 1, was sentenced to life in federal prison,” Minkler said.
Grundy, who has been implicated in at least ten violent deaths, never went to trial. He was arrested seven times on serious gun and drug charges but was convicted only of five misdemeanors and one low-level felony.
Minkler celebrated the life sentence, but admitted that justice didn't happen overnight.
“This is as big a win as our criminal justice system has had in this city in the last 25 years,” said Minkler.
Following a series of killings in 2014, Grundy and others were charged with murder in Marion County, but the case fell apart. That allowed Grundy to plead guilty to minor drug charges and declare his innocence in 2017.
“They was trying to make something fit that wasn't there,” said Grundy in 2017.
“Grundy beat those charges and held a press conference and bragged about it," said Minkler.
In November 2017, federal agents raided a series of homes around Indianapolis and charged Grundy with importing marijuana, meth cocaine and heroin from Arizona.
More than 20 people were convicted in that case, culminating with Grundy's life sentence.
“I mean it's hurts me because he's all i know. He’s like my best friend,” said Grundy’s daughter Ranyia Grundy.
Grundy's 14-year-old daughter defended her dad after court and said moving the federal trial from Indianapolis to Evansville was simply not fair.
“I just felt like they mis-tried it on purpose, because honestly if they tried it here, I thought he would have beat it,” said Ranyia.
While he was never convicted of murder, prosecutors say having Grundy spend the rest of his life behind bars for drug charges leaves the city a safer place.
“Those narcotics charges are a tool for law enforcement to impact the violence in our city,” said IMPD chief Bryan Roach.
“We're not just talking about Richard Grundy, but his entire organization that's been dismantled through this investigation,” said FBI Special Agent Grant Mendenhall.
Grundy did speak in court and said he accepted his punishment, but does plan to appeal the case.
So far, more than 20 members of the “Grundy Crew” have been convicted by plea or jury trial.
Ezell Neville, 41, Undrae Moseby, 30, Derek Atwater, 33, and James Beasley, 39, were all convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and other drug-trafficking offenses.
Prosecutors said Neville served as Grundy’s principal distributor of methamphetamine. Moseby transported drug money from Indianapolis to Phoenix, Arizona, for Grundy and returned to Indianapolis with methamphetamine.
Atwater and Beasley were mid-level methamphetamine distributors the operation. Three of the four have been sentenced: Neville (360 months), Atwater (216 months) and Beasley (235 months), while Moseby awaits sentencing.
Here’s the status of other co-defendants in the case.
- David C. Carroll, sentenced on November 5, 2019, to 96 months
- Michael Hyatte, sentenced on December 18, 2018, to 12 months and one day
- Lance Hatcher, Jr., awaiting sentencing
- Nathaniel Dixson, sentenced on November 27, 2018, to 120 months
- Conway Jefferson, dismissed on November 17, 2017
- Robert Lisenby, Jr., sentenced on October 24, 2018, to 276 months
- Torin A. Harris, sentenced on November 26, 2018 to 120 months
- John E. Bell, sentenced on November 14, 2018, to 180 months
- Shemilah D. Crowe, sentenced on May 2, 2019, to 60 months
- Gilberto Vizcarra-Milan, sentenced on December 5, 2019, to 300 months
- Mario Eduado Villasenor, sentenced on October 30, 2019, to 48 months
- Christopher D. Bradford, pending trial
- Emilio Mitchell, II, sentenced on November 20, 2019, to 120 months
- Thomas Bullock, sentenced on April 11, 2019, to 120 months
- Mark T. Williams, sentenced on December 11, 2019, to 240 months
- Isiah T. Finch, sentenced on September 25, 2019 to 36 months
- Dion G. Madison, sentenced on April 10, 2019, to 97 months
- Frank S. Early, sentenced on June 24, 2019, to 46 months
- Emilio Mitchell, Jr., sentenced on May 14, 2019, to 57 months
- Daona Le’Ann Gholston, sentenced on April 9, 2019, to 30 months